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A Mom Begged The Judge To Let The Sentence Fit The Crime. He Ignored Her And Gave Her Son Life.

Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons. Over half are there for nonviolent crimes. And many, like Rufus, are there for having drugs. Not dealing. Not stealing. But for having drugs. They're there FOR LIFE for a crime that normally carries a 0-5 year sentence and treatment — because of mandatory-minimum laws. Listen to his story.

A Mom Begged The Judge To Let The Sentence Fit The Crime. He Ignored Her And Gave Her Son Life.
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The ACLU

Rufus fell victim to one of the most egregious laws on the books: the mandatory-minimum three-strikes law. (You can read a comprehensive PDF analysis of it and learn more about Rufus.) The evidence against him was a dime bag with cocaine residue in the backseat of the police car that the police drove him in. It was enough for a local judge to sentence him to LIFE IN PRISON — for having a tiny, basically empty plastic bag near him. That's it.

This crime, if you can call it that, under normal circumstances would carry a 0-5 year sentence, with treatment programs to help. But because he had two previous convictions, he is locked away on the taxpayer's dime for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.


Mandatory minimums are not only unfair to the convicted. They keep judges from doing their job. Not every crime is the same. And the idea of a tiny plastic bag putting you away for life is absurd. We can do better. Here’s how you can help fix these dangerous laws that destroy communities.

And then share this if you think maybe our system is flawed and just might need fixing?

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

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Editor's Note: This story will be updated as events are developing.

A grand jury in Jefferson County, Kentucky has formally charged a former Louisville police officer with with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for his conduct in the shooting that killed Breonna Taylor. According to the Washington Post, the jury said Brett Hankison "wantonly and blindly" shot 10 times into the apartment where Taylor was sleeping. Under the current charges, Hankison faces up to 5 years in prison.

In responding to the charges, Kentucky's Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the grand jury ruled the other officers in the incident -- Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove -- acted accordingly. Cameron urged calm in response to the charge, noting that "peaceful protests are your right as an American citizens," and that many people would be "disappointed" both that the other officers were not charged and some offended that Hankison was charged at all. However, saying acts of "revenge" were not warranted, Cameron said his department's own role is to enforce the law: "It isn't the quest for revenge, it's the quest for truth," adding that he hopes to be part of "the healing process."


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